Sunday, January 11, 2015

I am a Scuba Diver

Adios to the wonderful Guatemalan souls we have encountered, and Hola to our New Perspectives

Where can I even begin? Here I am sitting on a plane to Cincinnati, leaving a place that forced me to take a critical look into my life and look deeply into my experiences with compassion and idealism, and entering back into a world focused on materialistic needs. This morning we had a meeting about acclimating ourselves back into our lives in school, and how it isn’t going to be easy. I have been mentally preparing myself for the return culture shock, but today while traveling I found myself not focused on what I expected. If You Don’t Believe in Miracles, then you haven’t heard our travel story to get on this flight today yet. We landed in Atlanta early to be welcomed by a customs line that seemed a mile long, followed by a security line that was just as stressful. We were hardly into the security line when our flight boarded at 9:15, and we weren’t sure if we would even get there in time.  As the negativity and stress of all the worried travelers surrounded us, a wonderful worker gave everyone a Smile and was cracking jokes and telling us “It is a wonderful day” to help calm some nerves. This may seem insignificant, but I have been preparing myself to know the negative differences in our culture. I found myself focusing on the optimism of this single man surrounded by upset travelers. The miracle comes when we Earned Our Wings as we SPRINTED from security in Terminal F to our already boarded and ready to leave flight at gate A26. One by one we thankfully made our way to our seats while still struggling to catch our breath.

This past week has been nothing but An Amazing Journey. Through House Calls, Influenza and Pneumonia, we discovered more about the Guatemalan way of life and medicine while also learning so much more about ourselves. Through the Words of Wisdom from our incredible staff we became pharmacists, optometrists, nurses, dentists, and doctors. We saw a total Number of 172 patients who all made an impact on our team. From the Holy Image of Manuel, to the contagious personality of little Christopher, to the joy and sadness when seeing Valentina, and to the connection Cooper felt to the asthmatic patient, our lives were changed forever. At first glance it seems that we are there to help the village of Patanatic, but with deeper Reflection it is clear they helped us discover more of ourselves and what we will strive to do as future medical professionals. It was A Beautiful Privilege for them to let us into the most personal parts of their lives.

This week I discovered I am a scuba diver as Dr. Laurie and Dr. Richard coined it, and that I never want to just be a snorkeler. I want to dig deep into everything I do with compassion. I don’t want to just skim the surface even though it may be easier, but I want to take the necessary Small Steps to truly better patients’ lives by working in an idealistic mindset and giving them all the time that they need. This trip may have me Ruined for Life, because the road as an idealistic medical professional isn’t easy. But it has reminded me to Dream Big, because without a dream there is no action to move forward.

It is experiences that bind people. I share a beautiful experience with my team and the people of Patanatic that no one else can truly understand. What We Bring Back is our new insight, experiences, and new family. Within the words of this blog I have intertwined the titles of my newfound family’s blogs in italics, because this trip would have been nothing without them, their support, compassion, words, or understanding. We got Up Close and Personal and bonded with our experiences in and unexpected way.

With A New Feeling within us from this mission, one thing I need to say is Gracias a Dios (thank you God) for drawing me toward this trip. I Give Thanks for my countless blessings and as we move forward toward second semester. We finished our medical mission in Guatemala, but my team’s mission to help others through compassionate medical care is just beginning. We’re Off to change the world in our own way, knowing that God is with Us every step of the journey.

Megan Donaldson

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